Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28, 2014 - Satan The Soccer Coach

The game of soccer (futbol) is one that has never fully caught on in the states. Many believe it is because of the lack of offensive production (low scoring games.) Yet it seems that a game called baseball has done fairly well in the US and it often produces low scoring affairs… and then there is hockey which doesn’t always light up the scoreboard…


But therein lies the rub… in hockey or baseball there is always potential for scoring on every play or with every swing of the bat. In baseball the goal is always getting runners in “scoring position.”


Yet with soccer there are strategies that involve either controlling time of possession to limit the other team’s touches; or even letting the other team control time of possession while packing in the defense and simply keeping the opponent out of the scoring column… When that happens there may be a lot of brilliant offensive skills being shown without ever even having a strike on goal to attempt a score. And unless you are a soccer fan that can be boring…


I think that Satan would make a great soccer coach! He understands fully what it means to let the other team think it is controlling possession and show off their offensive skills while never having a strike on the goal… and thus Christianity can get boring, mundane, and lack “scoring.”


I am so tired of hearing so many debates and reading so many opinions delivered by Christians on everything from movies to politics to how enlightened we are... We show off our “skills” yet often forget the mission is to “score goals” via the proclamation of the Good News to all people of the Savior!


Of all the things we do here on earth as Christians, the one thing we absolutely cannot do in Heaven is evangelize! It is what we are still here for…


Let’s start actively searching for “scoring opportunities”!  Let’s obey the Great Commission while exercising the Great Commandment via the Acts 1:8 Game Plan!


Mt 28:19 / Mk 16:15 “Go therefore…

Mt 22:37-40 …love God…love others…

Acts 1:8 ….locally, regionally, and globally!”

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dominican Republic Ministry Needs

Hello Team, I must start by confessing that I feel uneasy every time I post about needs... I realize that we all have our own personal needs and also we all are inundated with request for help... Yet I must balance that with the fact that I am the director of a non-profit, support-based ministry and we are reliant upon needs being expressed and met via our supporters...

Please understand that I do not send these requests with any specific expectation of you other than that you pray about them... I fully believe the Holy Spirit will impress upon those that need to step up to the financial plate for each request. (And He may impress upon you to give somewhere else... and I am good with that as long as each of us strive to honor His leading!)

In May I am returning to the Dominican Republic to specifically work on furnishing/preparing our apartments there for the teams that will be coming down to minister in the Tireo Valley... InBounds has a very nice facility in which we are furnishing a couple of bedrooms where we can provide lodging for a family or a small team up to 6 members. There is a very nice kitchen and a conference room that will be used for orientation of all groups. We are working in conjunction with Wills Valley Community Church from Alabama as they are furnishing a team room that sleeps 14 comfortably... SCORE International also has 2 units in the same building.

Estimated costs of immediate large needs that we will purchase in the DR:

Bunk beds (2 sets): $250 per set [very heavy wooden bunks that easily sleep teens or adults]
Master bedroom suite: $500
Furnishings: $250

Stove: $400
Refrigerator: $400
Misc. Supplies: $200

Tables/Chairs for conference room:  $750
Projector / Accessories for conference room: $250

Propane Tank: $100
Back up batteries: $300

We are also in need of basic items such as shower curtains, towels, curtains, twin sets of white sheets/pillow cases, blankets (yes it gets cool in the mountains of the DR), pillows, utensils, pots/pans, etc - for these items we prefer to simply take earmarked monetary donations and purchase while in the DR for ease (but willing to transport some items you may have available or good deals on): Estimated $250

We need help in in getting this ready... If you feel so led to partner with us please contact me. This will enable me to go ahead and order some of the bigger ticket items that I could possibly have shipped to the DR.... and/or to have money available in the account to purchase during this next visit.

I already have our first team confirmed to stay at the new facility in June...excited to host Watermark Church out of Troutman, NC! And I am working on dates for a group from South County Baptist Church in St Louis for July!

Side note of praise: Cross Works Thrift Store in Ft Payne, AL (an InBounds Ministries partner) has provided the funds to Wills Valley Community Church to purchase a vehicle while we are there in May. This is going to greatly enhance the ministry in the valley; and greatly benefit the full time missionaries that are moving in later in the summer...

Exciting things happening as we obey the Great Commission while exercising the Great Commandment via the Acts 1:8 Game Plan...

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014 - Roster Spot (Happy Easter)

In today’s world there are so many things that technology affords us; simply by clicking online a player can study and emulate the greats of the game. I think back to when I was young and pretending I was Dr J… how cool would it have been to pull him up online and watch games or highlight clips? I think of my oldest son as a toddler asking to watch the movie “The Pistol” about Pete Maravich over and over; and subsequently how nice it was during some of his rehab to YouTube players to model his game after…

Yet the reality is that a player could spend his entire life emulating/following his hero and still never even truly suit up for a team…

I got to thinking about this a lot during this past celebration of the Passion Week as we studied Christ’s last week of His earthly ministry. There were many that proclaimed victory and followed Jesus, only to turn around and cry “Crucify Him” shortly thereafter. There were even the apostles that had followed Him and still lacked an understanding of what His purpose was… In fact Thomas went as far as stating, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”(John 14:5)  Here is a guy that had been a “Christ Follower” for years and still didn’t understand salvation…

Please don’t get me wrong, I believe in following Christ! I believe in the call to live holy and committed lives! Yet the Gospel call is one of understanding that no amount of following or commitment could pay for sin (that required a death penalty!) Salvation is a call to believe on the finished work of Christ as the only means to eternal life! Jesus was very clear with what He answered Thomas:

14:6 “I (Jesus speaking) am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Note: He didn’t say, “I’ll show you the way, and tell you the truth…” Yes, He is an example! Yes, He teaches truth! But when it comes to the Gospel His way is the only way… by grace through faith!

In other words, the answer to how you are saved is not “I’m a Christ follower” (or anything that highlights what you have done for or committed to God.) One could follow and not even be on the team… The substitutionary death and resurrection of Christ is the only way to get a spot on Heaven’s roster! (Or in other words it is about what God has done for or committed to you!)

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014 - Know Your Role

I have often shared some of my philosophies about sports and our roles as believers…

I believe with all my heart that the Scriptures call for us to honor Christ in everything we do, including sports. Honoring Christ involves having proper attitudes and it involves knowing our roles…

Thus the philosophy that “Players play, Coaches coach, Refs ref, and Fans cheer…” I look back at my life and there have been many times where I was called on to be a player, times I served as coach, and times I was present as a parent/fan… (I just intentionally avoided being a ref because I knew I would blow my top with some of the fans and coaches.)

What I had to learn was to fulfill my purpose in each given situation. I don’t think my role when I was a player involved running the team like a coach, nor do I think it involved complaining about calls from referees; when coaching I learned to stop thinking I was the supervisor of the referees and it freed to concentrate on teaching/directing my players; as a parent I learned to make noise when I was cheering for good play and to remain quiet concerning the referees…

The reality is that I knew a lot about the game through all of those scenarios but had to learn to stick with the purpose and plan that was before me…

Christ knew during His earthly visit that He was God in the flesh; meaning He is worthy of being called Judge and Lord and Master – He is all those things…’

Yet as we celebrate this Passion Week remember that in John 12 we read that Christ makes the following claim about Himself?

He states that He was not here to Judge (that is on down the line.) He states clearly that His role for His earthly visit was that as “Savior” or “substitute.” He goes on to demonstrate in chapter 13 that the visit included being a Servant. Christ knew His role!

He also challenges us to follow in His steps by being focused on sharing the saving news of the Gospel and by serving one another…that is our role!

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014 - GO! GO! GO!

I am home from an extensive trip to Florida, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti… it has been a whirlwind couple of weeks that included preaching the last 3 Sundays in Florida. Drove back today to Alabama and have a couple engagements this week; will preach twice Sunday morning; and then off to North Carolina for a week of meetings at a Christian school… I love “pushing the ball up the floor!”

One of my favorite college players to watch in the past was Ty Lawson at UNC; he absolutely sprinted up the floor when he got it. Even when the fast break wasn’t there he made the defense have to work their tails off! He made sure he was pushing the action!

Teddy Roosevelt is credited with one of my favorite quotes: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I want to be “In the arena!” I want to be “In the game!” I want to “push the action!” How about you?

 Never let it be said of me that I was “stuck on the sidelines or riding the bench!” I am going to “push the ball up the floor” and if the “fast break” isn’t there I will “pull the ball” out and adjust… (Always remembering that the first rule of missions is to be “dogmatically committed to flexibility!”)

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

GO MAD! (Make A Difference!)